Over-imitation as Norm-Learning [...]

These verbal measures do not support the hypothesis that children over-imitate primarily because they encode unnecessary actions as causing the goal even in causally transparent systems. In a causally transparent system, explanations for over-imitation fitting the results are that children are ignorant of the unnecessary action’s purpose, and that they learn a prescriptive norm that it should be carried out. In causally opaque systems, however, for children and for adults, any action performed before achieving the goal is likely to be inferred as causally necessary—this is not over-imitation, but ordinary causal learning. (Source)

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